In the preface to Fanny’s First Play, Shaw encourages young people to “Do something that will get you into trouble.” Then, in a particularly refreshing step, he writes a play that is a blatant attempt to get into trouble himself.
When Fanny’s First Play was initially produced in London in April of 1911, Shaw did not put his name on it. This was a rather genius way to make the audience actively consider one of the main questions presented by the play: “Is the playwright truly able to perform anonymously, or is knowledge of who the playwright is essential to the understanding of the play?”
This we know about our playwright: Shaw was a vegetarian before it was cool, and a socialist before most people knew what the word meant. He was a man ahead of his time, and so he was able to write a play with one foot in the world in which he lived, and one foot in the world he anticipated. You can peer into this play and distinctly see the Victorian audiences looking back at you. And they are a little shocked and a lot excited about what’s to come.